The Texas attorney general has filed a motion for contempt against Frisco ISD, alleging the district violated a restraining order against illegal electioneering, according to a March 13 filing.

The motion comes after Attorney General Ken Paxton sued the district for illegal electioneering Feb. 28. His office also filed a temporary restraining order against the district to stop electioneering Feb. 29.

What it means

The Texas Government Code allows courts to punish contempt by levying a fine of no more than $500 for each act of contempt, the filing states.

The attorney general’s office is asking the court to find FISD in contempt of court.

What happened

The filing states a Feb. 29 social media post from the Frisco ISD Government Affairs account on X, formerly known as Twitter, violated the restraining order that was issued by the court about four and a half hours prior, the filing states. The social media post read:

“The state legislature determines how much money districts can receive. They have not increased that per-student amount since 2019. Since then, we’ve experienced record inflation. Now, FISD is $90 million behind in buying power.”

This post has since been deleted.

Frisco ISD does not comment on pending litigation, a district spokesperson said Feb. 29.

In case you missed it

The initial lawsuit against FISD names Dynette Davis, Gopal Ponangi, Rene Archambault, Marvin Lowe, Stephanie Elad, Mark Hill and John Classe for their capacity as board members. The lawsuit also names Superintendent Mike Waldrip and Megan DeWolfe, FISD’s Government Affairs chair.

The Feb. 28 lawsuit was filed against the district in regards to three social media posts that were published on FISD’s Government Affairs Facebook page Feb. 20, 23 and 27, according to the filing.

The social media posts have since been edited after direction by Collin County Judge Andrea Bouressa determined which parts of the post may be electioneering, said Esther Kolni, general counsel for FISD, during a March 7 meeting.

Frisco ISD officials voted to work with Texas attorney general officials in response to his injunction proposal during the March 7 meeting.

Zooming out

The attorney general’s office filed a similar lawsuit against Denton ISD on Feb. 22 for illegal electioneering after an elementary school principal emailed staff members encouraging them to vote in the primary election. Similar actions have been taken against Castleberry and Denison ISDs.

FISD’s legal counsel has connected with districts that have received similar lawsuits, Kolni said. Districts across the state have expressed concerns of “potential overreach” from the attorney general, she said.

“We, as a school district, have an obligation to educate,” Kolni said after the March 7 meeting. “It is our job, [and] it is fundamental to our existence. We cannot let fear or intimidation prevent us from upholding the principles of this republic. We cannot let fear or intimidation prevent us from providing accurate information to the public about matters of public concern.”